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We spent last night and most of today back in Grand Rapids at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital with Josiah.  He had a Neuro-Psychological evaluation to see how he has progressed since he was released. He got started at 8AM and was actually finished early because he did so well on the testing. According to the doctor, he scored in the top 10-15% of patients that he has seen and is healing much quicker than most that have had his type of injury.

Here are a few of the things we learned today:

  • Josiah does not have any memory issues.
  • He also does not have any significant issues with concentration. He is not longer easily distracted, which is something that is necessary for him to go back to school.
  • His main issues are: processing speed,  doing more than one thing at a time and doing complex things like taking carburetors apart (which is not anything he has ever done anyways).
  • For the most part, everything that needs to heal on Josiah now is dependent upon time passing so the body can heal itself. There are a few things that he has to work hard on as well, but time is the biggest healer at this point.
  • The doctor pretty much cleared him to start being integrated back into the school system.  He also said that it would be best for him to get fully back into school before going back to work and that he should not drive for at least another 6-8 weeks. Those last two are not issues with us at all since we think he should get his schooling caught up and that he should not be driving for another 10 years or so.
  • Overall, this was just another great report for Josiah. We visited with some families that we had met while staying at the hospital. They are still there and still waiting for their children to get well enough to go home.  Some of them have waited for months and will have another two weeks and then months of outpatient rehab to go through. We are humbled at God’s favor on our son in his healing.

We still have some things that we are need of prayer for. Yes, they are suppose to heal in time, but we are still asking God for the following:

  • Pray that Josiah’s nerve damage on the right side of his face will heal soon. The doctors say we should see improvement in the next 6-8 weeks.
  • Pray that Josiah will be able to catch up in all of his school work and graduate this Spring. This will be a great accomplishment for him after all he has been through.
  • Pray that he will be able to return to work as well. There is no time table for us on this, but I know he would like to be able to be working again just to do something normal.
  • Pray that he has patience through all of this. He does get frustrated at things that he knows he should be able to do, but yet it just comes a little slow for him right now. I am proud of how he has handled himself to this point. He has shown spiritual and emotional strength through all of this.
  • Pray that we are able to leave lasting impact in the lives of those we meet through all of this and that they see the love of Jesus in our lives.

Psalm 18:6, 31-32 “I was in terrible trouble when I called out to you, but from your temple you heard me and answered my prayer. You alone are God! Only you are a mighty rock. You give me strength and guide me right.”

Today was a day of travel and Dr. appointments for Josiah and I.  He had to go to Ann Arbor Michigan to the University of Michigan to meet with specialists about the nerve damage that he has on the right side of his face. All I can say is that I am amazed at the favor of our God at every turn when it comes to the prognosis for my son. Again, with each person we met with today, we heard good news! Here is just a brief recap of what the day held:

  • Ann Arbor is a 3 hour drive from where we are at here, so we started out on the road around 8AM.  He appointment was not until 12:30, but this gave us time to eat lunch and find where we were going.
  • His first appointment was a hearing test.  The test confirmed what we already knew, which was that he had a moderate to severe loss of hearing in his right ear.  His hearing has improved though, and the Dr. said that there were good signs that he will still improve greatly with time.  For that we are thankful.  He has noticed his hearing coming back in that ear, so I just expect that it will continue.
  • His next appointment was with a nerve specialist.  They did a test where they stuck a needle into the right side of his face in about 6-8 locations and then they would have him try and move a muscle in his face near the needle. Needless to say, this was not his favorite test! Again, there was great news to be shared.  The Dr. explained it like this: the nerve is not just a single “wire” but more like a cord of many wires.  Sometimes the damage can be severe to where the nerve is totally severed. That is not the case for Josiah.  Other times, just a few of the strands of the nerve are damaged or severed.  This is what they feel has happened to Josiah. The good news is that the damaged strands will grow back and heal.  In fact, they believe he will start to see improvement in as little as 8 weeks. At this point they say he will heal on his own and have no need for surgery.  This is exactly what we had been praying for!
  • His last appointment was the surgeon that had been in contact with our Dr.s from the very beginning. He confirmed what the previous Dr. had told us about the nerve damage and took a look inside Josiah’s ear and did a bit to clean it up yet.  He still has some blood and gunk in there. He also sent Josiah for a CT scan just to see how far he has come in the last 2 months.  Again, another really good report and it was just as we had hoped for.

Josiah’s main healing now comes from his hard work and time. It will take some time for certain parts of his body to heal as they should. This is frustrating to him, but he realizes that he has to wait on his body. Please remember the following specific requests in prayer:

  • Pray for him as he deals with the frustration that his body causes him on a daily basis.  He really is doing well, but he wants to be better now!
  • Pray for his neurological-psych eval next week back up at Mary Free bed.  This will help determine when he gets to start being integrated back into the school system.
  • Pray for his strength of body to continue to improve.  He still has some weaknesses and will be working hard on those areas in rehab.
  • Pray for the ability to show the love of Jesus to people we meet.

Psalm 9:1 “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart and tell about the wonders you have worked.”

Here is an update on Josiah as of Tuesday evening, February 8th.

Josiah continues to make some great strides as he walks down his road of recovery.

  • He continues to have therapy 2-3 times a week at the local Y (where the Lakeland Rehab facility is).  He also works out every day at home doing weight lifting and other exercises from Mary Free Bed.

  • He has been working very hard and is also doing very well with his studies here at home.
  • He was sitting on the couch last week and all of a sudden he says, “Hey, I just got my hearing back in my right ear!” We were expecting this to happen, we just never knew when it would!

We still have some very specific things that we are praying for.  Please remember these as you pray for him:

  • Pray for us as we travel to the University of Michigan this Thursday to meet with the specialist there about the nerve damage on the right side of his face.  We are still praying and expecting a complete healing there as well, hopefully without the need for surgery.
  • Also, pray for us next Tuesday and Wednesday as we go back up to Mary Free Bed for some evaluations on his progress.  We should also find out then if he can start being integrated back into the school soon.
  • Pray that as he starts to integrate back into the school system that he handles it well and is able to do the work that is necessary fro him to graduate.
  • We received news that Josiah qualifies for a special program here in Michigan for children with special health care needs. When he is accepted into enrollment, this program will help pay for his ongoing medical needs and other things that his current coverage likely would not cover, including extra rehab services as needed.  This will be huge for him!
  • Josiah has faced this situation in his life with incredible courage and faith for his age. He continues to work hard, but it also will take time for much of the healing. Please pray that he has the patience to cope with what at times can be hopelessly frustrating for him.
  • Pray for us as well that we will be open to speak into the lives of those that God brings to us in this journey.

Thanks again for praying!

Psalm 5:11 “Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs. Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice.”

The BIG snowstorm over the last 24 hours gave me a bit of free time to get back to writing updates on Josiah.  He is still making great progress, and though it seems slower at this point, it is still great progress that he is making. I am so proud of the things he has done during this healing process.  He has shown himself to be a strong young man.  Though there are times of frustration and great emotion, these are quickly followed by times of great victory and certainty of God’s almighty hand directing us down the path He has chosen for us. Some of the things that we have seen over the last two weeks that are worth mentioning areas follows:

  • Josiah has started his home bound studies for school.  We are hoping this will only last a month and that he will be able to integrate back into the school system soon.  He has been very self-motivated in getting his work done and is doing a good job with it.
  • He is also doing very well in his out patient therapy.  He is going three times a week for speech, physical and occupational therapy. He has made some great improvements even in the two weeks he has been doing this. Insurance has only given him one month of out patient so far.  We are praying for at least another month to help with his healing.
  • His appointment at the University of Michigan was rescheduled for next Thursday. We are praying the weather will cooperate so we can make the trip.

We are specifically praying for some things that we would like to see happen for him.  Would you pray with us about these things?

  • Pray that the nerves on the right side of his face will start working again. This is what the trip to the University of Michigan is all about next week. We are praying that there will be no need for surgery.
  • Pray that he will be able to get the work done that is necessary for him to graduate.  He is working hard, and the school is working with us to make this happen.
  • Pray that his physical healing will continue at the pace we have seen.  He is doing so well and getting strength back. He even came out and shoveled snow with us today.
  • Pray that he will stay positive and be encouraged. It is easy to get overwhelmed and see things as being hopeless when in his situation. God has shown Himself strong on Josiah’s behalf, and we are praying He will continue to do so.

I will be updating things a little more frequently again now that all my technical issues seem to be resolved.  Thank you again for all of your prayers and the love you have shown to us.  We stand in need of prayer as much now as we have and covet those prayers so very much!

Psalm 5:2-3 “You are my King and my God. Answer my cry for help because I pray to you. Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests to you and wait for your reply.”

I am sorry for the long time between updates.  My website went through domain handler and a host change that took way too long to complete.  The last ten days or so have not been to eventful as far as rehab for Josiah, though they have brought him a sense of being home and getting back to some sense of normality compared to the last several weeks.

Here are some highlights over the last several days:

  • He is doing very well adapting back to being home. He is getting along quite well with his siblings, in fact, he probably is relating better with them now than before the accident.
  • He has not started school yet, but I am expecting that to happen in the next week or so.  He will be home-bound for school for the first month or so.  A teacher will come in several times a week and get him back up to speed.
  • Our appointment with the specialist in Ann Arbor last Friday had to be postponed due to one of three doctors he was suppose to see becoming unavailable. That was a little disappointing, but unavoidable. It was rescheduled for February, which just gives his face some more time to heal on its own.
  • He had his initial evaluations for out-patient rehab last week.  They all recommended him to be seen three times a week for now.  We are waiting for Medicaid to give the authorization for it to start.  We are hoping to still see him start this week.  Until then, I am his therapist (he would much rather have someone else) and we are going to the YMCA to work out every day and doing some stuff at home as well.
  • He continues to make great improvement each day.  He strength is returning and his mind is making improvements that are noticeable to us.  It is amazing to me that so much of him has returned so quickly. He still has a lot of work to do, but he is doing awesome!
  • He has also loved returning to church.  The music lifts his souls and spirit and I can see the excitement in his eyes as we go into the building!

There are probably a million little things that I could list as well.  These are things that we see and notice daily as we tend to him. It is a sign of God’s hand on him to see such progress.  Jennifer and I have both been able to return to work. Friends and family have been a big help with the other kids which has been much appreciated.

There are still some specific things that we are praying for.  We would appreciate your prayers in these areas:

  • Pray for his rehab to get started ASAP! Though he is making progress, I know that the therapists can do much more for him than I can.
  • Pray for us as we open the bills. We are still unsure of what will be paid and what will not be paid.  I know God will supply our needs but it can still be stressful seeing such large numbers!  The first bill I saw from the local hospital that he was first taken to made me throw up in my mouth a bit… really!  That was a very LARGE number!
  • Pray for his schooling to start and pray that he will be able to graduate this year still.  It looks promising, but until we get the word that he can we are left wondering about that.
  • Pray for our family as a whole. We have been in a “holding pattern” for a year now, and with Josiah’s accident, we are not sure of what God has for us in the near future.  I know that God had all this in mind when we left Kansas last year.  I know that He knows where we are headed and what our next steps are.  I am just asking Him to show us a bit of that. My heart’s desire for ministry and pastoring has never been more passionate.
  • Pray that we will continue to meet and make a difference in the lives of people that we meet through this. God has been, and will use this for His purposes, of that I am sure.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”